How to Set Up an AT&T Answering Service With a Landline

by Maya Austen

AT&T is short for American Telephone & Telegraph. Founded in 1875, AT&T is one of the oldest, still active, communications companies in the United States. In addition to cable TV service, high-speed Internet service and wireless phone service, AT&T also provides landline phone services to consumers. You receive optional additional features that come with your AT&T landline phone service, including an answering service, or voice mail. The AT&T answering service functions similar to an answering machine, except the machine is not in your house, which means once you set it up you have no additional maintenance.

Dial *98 from your home phone. This is a shortcut method of accessing the AT&T; voice mail system, but it's only available in some areas. If you're away from home, or if you're in an AT&T; service area where *98 doesn't work, call your voice mail access number. The letter you received outlining the call features included in your service package lists your voice mail access number. If you never received this letter, or if you misplaced it, you can receive your voice mail access number by contacting AT&T; customer support at the number listed on your phone bill.

Dial your complete home phone number, starting with the area code, and press the "#" key. Skip this step if using your home phone.

Follow prompts to enter "1 2 3 4" as your password. This is the default password for your AT&T; voice mail account. It's meant to be temporary. For security purposes, AT&T; strongly recommends that you personalize your password.

Follow the prompts to create a new password for your mailbox. The password you select must be at least four characters long, but no longer than 15 characters. Select a password that's easy for you to remember but difficult for someone else to guess. For example, do not use your zip code or birth date as your password. Once you create your new password you will automatically go back to the main Personal Options menu.

Follow prompts to select "Record your greeting" from the main Personal Options menu and to record the message you want callers to hear when they get your voice mail. If you have AT&T;'s standard voice mail service, the maximum length of your voice mail greeting cannot exceed two minutes. If you have AT&T;'s Voice Mail Plus service, the maximum length of your voice mail greeting cannot exceed four minutes. With AT&T;'s Voice Mail Plus service you can have up to three "extension mailboxes." This is useful if you would like members of your household to have their own separate mailbox. If you plan to set up extension mailboxes, use your main voice mail greeting to direct callers to dial "1," "2" or "3" for these extension mailboxes. Once you record your greeting, you will automatically go back to the main Personal Options menu.

Set up your extension mailboxes from main the Personal Options menu, if you have Voice Mail Plus service and would like to use this feature. Follow voice the prompts to create the additional mailboxes.

About the Author

Maya Austen began freelance writing in 2009. She has written for many online publications on a wide variety of topics ranging from physical fitness to amateur astronomy. She's also an author and e-book publisher. Austen has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the New England Institute of Art and currently lives in Boston, Mass.